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Veda May Hays Cole

ROCHELLE – Veda May Hays Cole of Rochelle passed away Tuesday, July 29, 2014, just short of her 86th birthday.

She was a math whiz, and kept the books for her mechanic husband, Merritt Robert “Bob” Cole, the love of her life, whom she married on Nov. 6, 1965. Both were quite involved with the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He passed away in 1995.

She was for many years a volunteer with Ogle County Hospice (now Serenity Hospice), visiting clients and assisting their families, as well as helping with office tasks. In 2007, the hospice named her Volunteer of the Year.

Throughout her life, she was a steady churchgoer, and could sing most hymns (all verses) from memory. In later years, she was a beloved member of the First Presbyterian Church in Rochelle, where she frequently volunteered.

Veda May loved to crochet, knit, sew, and do needlepoint, and made many sweaters, blankets, doilies, and wall hangings for family and friends. She didn’t have email, but enjoyed writing letters, emptying many a pen as she prepared birthday, anniversary, holiday greetings, and best wishes for all she knew. She made, from scratch, the best-tasting pancakes, studded with sweet corn, that you can imagine. Her smile and friendly demeanor were widely known, and though she had no children, she was a sort of second mother to her more than two dozen nieces and nephews, and honorary grandma to friends’ children.

Veda May was born Aug. 8, 1928, in Dixon, the eldest child of farmers, Ralph E. and Lucille E. (Thomas) Hays.

Her early years were spent near Weld Park, south of Stillman Valley, where she began her education. Her parents then lived in the Oregon and Ashton communities, before moving to Rochelle. Veda May entered Rochelle Township High School as a sophomore, graduating with the Class of 1946, and has been a resident since.

She worked at the Hub Theatre for a while, and then worked for many years as an accounting secretary in the Nash dealership for Stoner, Wagoner Motor Co., and later for Wendling Motors.

She is survived by brothers, Wilmer (Carol) of Libertyville and Laverne (Sandra) of Orfordville, Wisconsin; and many beloved nieces and nephews.

She also was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Eugene, and wife, Inez, and Merlin; and sisters, Doris, and husband, Howard Miller, and Merilyn, and husband, Gerald Hoffman.

Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday at Beverage Family Funeral Home, 704 N. Sixth St., Rochelle. There also will be a visitation before the 11 a.m. funeral service Tuesday at First Presbyterian Church in Rochelle. Interment will be at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Rochelle.

Her family is ever so grateful to her many friends at Hospice and at the First Presbyterian Church in Rochelle, who stood by her through her final journey. In lieu of flowers or plants, memorials may be made in her name to either.

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